Sunday, June 29, 2014

I've mastered the lace edging pattern, I think, for the Unst Bridal Shawl and am enjoying, more and more, as I thought I would, the process of knitting it on. I only did three bumps yesterday – but on the other hand, I'm a good six inches along the course. I don't remember how many bumps there are altogether – I must have a note of it somewhere, but I don't mean to search for it. It's more fun like this.

Enough of the shawl will soon have been released from bondage that I should be able to take a more meaningful picture than we've had for a while.

I didn't succeed yesterday in locating the Nancy Thomas/Knitter's Scarves and Shawls book. My knitting books now well exceed their allotted shelf space. I would have hoped that that one would be in the Scarves and Hats pile in the bedroom, but it's not. It's probably in the Big Book pile here in the passage. In a situation like this a sensible person, like Franklin, with limited space, does some weeding-out. I've got dozens and dozens of knitting books that I may never open again. But the idea of weeding is unthinkable.

An archive somewhere? A banana box or two in the cellar?

And I ordered the new Elizabeth Lavold yesterday. I've never knit a stitch of hers, but I admire her extravagantly.

It's sometimes interesting to attempt a mental list of the dozen knitting books one will take along into one's care home – Knitting Without Tears, Heirloom Knitting: then what? The great thing is, one will have one's iPad and one will, of course, insist on wi-fi first of all, when choosing an institution. In this country, all those ads showing old folks happily taking tea with one another don't mention wi-fi, and I don't trust them. In the US, in equivalent ads, they're riding around on bicycles and I think wi-fi can be taken for granted.

How computers have changed the world! (Original thought: I think not.) Foggy Knitter said in her comment yesterday that my husband might be better off with a typewriter. I know, of course, what she means – but think of it: he is revising text, deleting a sentence here, adding a word there, editing a footnote. He could do it by hand, except that the pain and stiffness in his right hand makes writing difficult. A typewriter would be useless. Grumble as he does about the computer, it is making work possible for him.

When I arrived at the University of Glasgow in 1954, typewriter in hand, I was astonished that nobody else had one and that the local stationery store, supplying students, couldn't sell me a ribbon. Tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis. (Times change, and we change with them.)

Word promises well, and ...for Dummies turned up yesterday from the now-dreaded Amazon. I could scarcely have got myself organised and up to Waterstone's in the time. It looks like a good book, dense with information. I am impressed with what I have seen of the program, and furious that I can't get it on my own computer. Dammit, I've paid for it.

The author of ...for Dummies says that he prefers to work in “draft mode”. I'll have a look at that today – it may be less irritating for my husband. I fear, from what I saw yesterday, that he may have to learn to mouse. He has gone straight from a DOS-based keyboard to touch-screen, but there is so much in Word that keyboard and touch-screen combined may not be enough. Oddly – he is much more adroit than I am – he finds touch-screen difficult. He tends to jab at it, especially as he gets cross. And the computer sulks and doesn't respond.

I have always mouse'd with my left (non-dominant) hand. I know others who do. My husband could learn to do it that way.

Non-knit, non-computer

The new tax disc turned up in the post yesterday, the crown of a week's anxiety. It doesn't even have to be affixed to the car until midnight tomorrow.

Foggy Knitter, the Beijing cat is named Mimi. He was taken in when someone else abandoned him, and the name means something like “foundling”, I am assured, in Mandarin. His first problem in the Sydenham cattery is going to be explaining to everybody else why he has such a sissy name.


  1. I don't think you need to be too concerned about the cat - he may seem to have a cissy name, but it certainly won't be his "deep and inscrutable singular name" - see T S Eliot, "The naming of cats".
    I hope the number of points to complete the edging stays missing - I would reckon it would be beyond daunting to find it and start calculating.

  2. Keyboard-centric use of recent Word versions is not easy, but possible. Pressing the ALT key will make "key tips" appear indicating the proper key to use to access ribbon tabs and their contents.
    Since your husband is editing documents containing footnotes, it is important to know that Draft view does not show footnotes (or the contents of headers/footers) by default. You can display the footnotes: on the References tab, in the Footnotes group, click Show Notes.
    I have been reading your blog archives - it has been a most enjoyable way to fill my many bouts of wakefulness in the middle of the night.

  3. Yes, computers beat typewriters for editing, hope it all settles down. I'm sure Mimi will settle in ok, he can always yowl at them in Mandarin and sound scary.

    Good going on the shawl. I am facing that very dilemma, not of knitting books, but of books generally, I am beginning the painful process of weeding, getting rid of some childhood books that are now available for free on the Kindle, should I wish to read them again, not quite the same but saves space. I don't think I shall ever have sufficient bookshelf space for the books, it's an eternal problem.

  4. Gosh - the care home booklist! I'd have Barbara Walker's "Treasuries" - I only own 1 and 3 but they are invaluable. If only one could guarantee the continuing capability to make use of them.

  5. Ellen1:20 PM

    My American daughter attended Cambridge University (Jesus College) for much of her junior year (1993). Dhe was shocked that no one wrote on computers, and complaineded about it loudly throughout her whole stay. By then, every American college student considered it a birthright, and she was shocked that she was expected to produce legibly handwritten essays on a weekly basis...the horror of it all!

    1. Ellen4:04 AM

      Apologizing for my typos above, I wrote the above on my Kindle.

  6. And this American reader also spent a year at Jesus Cambridge (1988), when the student computer room was a brand-news thing. I discovered toward the end of the year that my computer skills were considered intimidating -- and this was before I had ever owned a machine of my own. Ellen, I wonder if your daughter and I share an alma mater (Brown)?

  7. I didn't go to Uni but the Civil Service College taught me how to audio-type. Perhaps your husband could get someone to do that for him? Or he could get an electronic typewriter which is far easier on his hands to use than a manual. Your nursing home quips are so funny. Have you tried keeping an inventory of your books on Ravelry?

  8. Anonymous2:12 PM

    For difficulties with a touch screen, what about using a stylus? You can even buy a pen that has a stylus end, so there is only one item to keep ready to hand.

  9. Anonymous2:26 PM

    I recall when I learned to type on a Selectric typewriter. My mother was horrified, and concerned that few offices would have that modern a typewriter. She wanted me to learn on a manual! Now, I look back gratefully because a computer keyboard feels very much like that Selectric.

  10. Tried to write this earlier but it didn't go through -- would it be an opportunity for a local art history university student to get a line on their cv by taking dictation? Possibly even a funded one if the publisher were to chip in as you suggested earlier?

  11. QuiltLady7:28 PM

    Jean, I enjoyed your comment about finding a care home with Wi-Fi. My mother is 93 and currently living in an assisted living facility in our small Iowa town. In February, I gave her a Kindle Fire and set up the Wi-Fi provided by the facility. She had NEVER used anything like this before. (Her eye-sight is poor, so this has been wonderful.) She loves it for reading, checking the weather, and playing games. Occasionally, the Wi-Fi is down, and she calls to fuss about it. I think I've finally convinced her that's one problem I can't solve. It's amazing, though, how quickly she's come to rely on it. I agree - when my turn comes, I want access to all of the latest technology. And, a good help desk on the premises would be good, too. :-)

  12. Poor Mimi, I hope the cats aren't too uppity, he is a furriner! I know what you mean about knitting the bumps on the edging. If I know how many I have to do I always mentally calculate how many left as a percentage or how many I have done as a fraction. Best for me not to know what lies ahead as it can be quite daunting. But yippee you are on the edging, the end is literally in sight!

  13. No worries -- my "grand-cat" is named Larry, and SHE is gorgeous!